Guide Wii U Plex Media Server

February 11, 2014

After having finally decided to retire my old Wii and replace it with my Wii U I’ve started to miss some of the things my old modded Wii could do, among those things is watching videos from a HDD with the luxury of having a remote. Sadly the Wii U is not fully hackable yet, if it ever will be, so there isn’t a truly ideal way to watch videos with your Wii U from a HDD. This does not mean that it cannot be done at all though. After much searching online I came across a few programs, 2 of which were either dead projects or just plain buggy. To my great pleasure though I finally stumbled upon one that is still supported and works well

After a bit of testing with different media files (AVI, MKV, MP4) and different resolutions from 480p to 1080p I’m pretty satisfied with this program. So what is this program I’m talking about? Plex Media Server. As has been known for a long time now the Wii U does not natively support video playback from HDDs or SD cards, but it was discovered that the Wii U’s web browser can play MP4s…okay, well not really discovered…Nintendo kind of told us in the manual…anyway, using this functionality you can stream your videos from a PC and watch them on your TV via the Wii U or even on the GamePad all with the help of Plex Media Server.

What you need:

  1. A Wii U
  2. A decent PC (I tested this all with a dual core that has 3gb of ram and got good results)
  3. A wireless router
  4. Plex Media Server

Chapter 1: Downloading & Installing Plex to your PC

Go here and get the Plex Media Server for your OS. Once you’ve downloaded and installed it just launch the app and your sever will up and running. But that’s not the end just yet, keep reading…there’s still a little more to do before you can celebrate with a streaming TV marathon.

Chapter 2: Make Plex Display Your Videos

Right click on the Plex icon (should be in the bottom right, might be in “Hidden Icons”). Plex’s icon is a black box with a orange arrow pointing to the right. When you right click on it choose the “Media Manager…” option and your web browser will open showing your Plex Dashboard page. It’ll be pretty much empty obviously.

In the “My Library” section you’ll see a + (plus) symbol to the right of the words “My Library”, click the plus and a pop up box will appear with the choices of Movies, TV Shows, Music, Photos, and Home Movies. Click the type of media you want to add for viewing on the Wii U. Once you click that you’ll see a new window with a text box, this text box lets you name what this library will show as on Plex’s Dashboard, and you will also see a “add folder” button. Click “add folder” and browse to the folder containing your videos and click “add”. You do not need to worry about sub-folders, Plex will see the content within them. So if your files are organized like: TV/Show Name/Season Number/Episode.avi, you only need to select the folder which holds the sub-folders for each show (in the case of my example that would be the TV folder) Plex will find your videos without issue . After clicking “add” you’ll be brought back at the previous browse screen, click save. You should now be on the section you just added and, if all went well, you should see all your videos. If you wait patiently Plex should automatically download info about these movies/tv shows including artwork and episode titles (don’t worry, your file names won’t be touched). Though some files may not be listed correctly, I have a couple episodes that show as UNKNOWN EP 00…I’m not sure how to fix that, but they play just fine so it isn’t too big a deal.

Chapter 3: Accessing Your Media Server On the Wii U

If the above steps went well you’re now ready to get things going on the Wii U. This part may be a bit complicated for some, so I’ll try to explain it as best I can. Firstly you’re going to need to find your PC’s IPv4 address. Simply go to Control Panel>>Network and Internet>>Network and Sharing Center. Now click on the name your internet connection and click the “Details” button. Look for the line that says “IPv4 Address” and make a note of the string of numbers next to it (something like 123.456.7.89). Now open your Wii U’s web browser, click in the URL box and type in your IPv4 address followed by :32400/web (ie; 123.456.7.89:32400/web). Hit go and your Wii U should load your Plex dashboard showing you all the media you added in Chapter 2. Navigation of the page should be self explanatory, it works just like any other web page.

You may notice scrolling being pretty sluggish, at least I’ve experienced that. I’m pretty sure it’s a issue with Plex’s web design. The best way around the slow scrolling is to try and grab the “slider bar” on the right hand side of the page, even with the stylus that’s a bit tough to do, but not impossible.

My recommendation is to bookmark the page for quick access, this way you don’t need to type in your IPv4 every damn time.

Chapter 4: Closing

There you have it, you can watch videos on your Wii U’s GamePad and you didn’t even have to mod the system, congratulations! If you liked this guide and it helped you be sure to click the thanks button

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